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GOTS requires that processors and/or manufacturers report data on energy consumption per kg of textile output and that they set target goals and procedures to reduce energy consumption per kg of textile output (GOTS, 2.4.10).
GOTS requires that processors and/or manufacturers report data on water consumption per kg of textile output and that they set target goals and procedures to reduce water consumption per kg of textile output (GOTS, 2.4.10).
GOTS requires all water emissions from wet processing sites to be treated by an internal or external fully functional waste water treatment plant before being discharged to surface waters. The treatment plant(s) should measure and monitor sediment, temperature and pH value. Waste water analyses must be performed and documented periodically.
All chemical inputs (e.g. dyes, auxiliaries and process chemicals) must be evaluated and must meet basic requirements on toxicity and biodegradability/eliminability. The basis for assessment is the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS). Key criteria of GOTS include:
GOTS requires that wet processing units must keep full records of the use of chemicals (2.4.10). Further, the certifier needs to be able to see purchase, stock and processing records (s.a. recipes) to be able to verify if indeed only approved chemical inputs have been used.
As GOTS certification controls all inputs, it can be assumed that no harmful residues are left in the final textile. However GOTS also sets residue limits considering human toxicity for the consumer in chapter 2.4.15 and 2.4.16.
Working conditions must be safe and a hygienic working environment must be provided, bearing in mind the prevailing knowledge of the industry and of any specific hazards, for example:
The GOTS approved certifiers active in developing countries (e.g. Control Union Certifications (CUC) and the Institute for Market Ekology (IMO)) apply checklists with detailed questions to assess this aspect.
GOTS stipulates that all operational procedures and practices must be supported by documented control systems and records that allow tracing the origin, nature and quantities of organic products which have been delivered to the unit and those GOTS Goods which have left the unit.
Wet processing units must keep full records of the use of chemical, energy, water consumption and waste water treatment including the disposal of sludge.
GOTS requires manufacturers to assign an employee who will be in charge of one stage of the process; for example, in case of the Social Compliance Management, the operator should nominate a responsible person for social accountability.
GOTS, as a standard for certification, does not offer training to manufacturers. Manufacturers need to comply with the criteria. This includes requirements that the environmental management policy should include “documentation of staff training in the conservation of water and energy, the proper and minimal use of chemicals and their correct
According to GOTS requirements, operators must have a written environmental policy. Depending on the processing stages performed, the policy should include:
The GOTS standard lays down minimum social criteria which apply to all textile processing and manufacturing stages. The criteria are in line with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) principles / conventions. The criteria include the following:
Additionally, there must be a form of social compliance management.
Storage, Packaging and Transport
Organic textile products must be stored and transported in such a manner that prevents contamination by prohibited substances and comingling with conventional products or substitution of the contents. GOTS requires packaging materials to be PVC-free.
Trims and embellishments, swing tags, etc.: All natural materials including biological material (such as natural fibre, wood, leather, horn, bone, stone, and shell) and inorganic material (such as minerals and metals) are allowed. From the 1st of January, 2014 onwards, any polyester used must be made from post-consumer recycled material.
Materials made of chrome and nickel (components of metal), from threatened animals, plant or timber or made of PVC are prohibited.
From the 1st of January, 2014 onwards, any paper or cardboard used must be post-consumer recycled or certified according to the Forest
The GOTS approved certifiers active in developing countries (e.g. Control Union Certifications (CUC) and the Institute for Market Ekology IMO) apply checklists with detailed questions to assess this aspect.